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Hashimoto's Disease (cont.)

How does Hashimoto's thyroiditis affect and pregnancy success, risks, and complications?

Women with Hashimoto's thyroiditis who become pregnant may need an increase in their dosage of levothyroxine (see Treatment section).

Babies born to women who have uncontrolled hypothyroidism during their pregnancy may have a greater risk of birth defects than babies born to mothers with normal thyroid function. There may be a direct link with congenital defects such as cleft palate and certain brain and kidney anomalies. Data suggests that over the long term, these children may also have a higher likelihood of intellectual and developmental problems. Intervening early in pregnancy with thyroid hormone replacement may have significant benefits. Interestingly, there also are data to suggest that the presence of thyroid autoantibodies, such as those seen in Hashimoto's thyroiditis, may reduce the chance of conception.

What kind of doctor treats Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

A specialist in endocrine disorders (endocrinologist) may treat Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Primary care physicians or internal medicine specialists also may treat the condition.

How is Hashimoto's thyroiditis diagnosed?

Most people are diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis after experiencing the typical symptoms of hypothyroidism noted previously. Some patients are diagnosed without symptoms on a routine screen, and others are diagnosed after a family member is found to have the disease.

The diagnosis is made based on the results of blood tests that measure levels of thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). These blood tests confirm hypothyroidism, but the addition of positive autoantibody tests further points to Hashimoto's thyroiditis as the underlying cause. Antibodies can be measured in the blood. Anti-TPO (anti-thyroid peroxidase) and anti-Tg (anti-thyroglobulin) antibodies are usually seen in 85% to 90% of patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/11/2016

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